By Marty Joseph, QBSN Staff Writer
The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (22-4-4, 15-1-2 ECAC) got back to it’s winning ways on Saturday night defeating the Clarkson Golden Knights (8-15-7, 7-8-3 ECAC) 2-1, at the High Point Solutions Arena. Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) stopped 28 shots for his 50th career win to backstop the Bobcats. Bryce Van Brabant and Connor Jones scored the two goals for the Bobcats in the victory. Clarkson’s Allan McPherson scored the team’s only goal in a losing effort.
A night after St. Lawrence snapped their 21-game unbeaten streak, the Bobcats came out flying in the early stages of the opening period. Van Brabant got the Bobcats rolling just two and a half minutes in with his fourth goal of the season. Jordan Samuels Thomas got the puck to Van Brabant who moved towards the slot for a better angle and fired a shot passed the glove Clarkson net minder Greg Lewis.
Clarkson’s best scoring chance of the opening period came just three minutes later when a break down in coverage for the Bobcats lead to a two on one breakaway for the Golden Knights. Hartzell slid from right to left to rob James Howden with the left pad and preserve the Bobcats one goal lead.
Jones stretched the lead to two with his eighth goal of the season just passed the midway point of the first period. While breaking out of the defensive zone Loren Barron looked up and saw Jones standing alone at the offensive blue line. Barron hit Jones with a pass to send Jones on a breakaway. Jones deked Lewis out of position and slid it five hole for the goal.
Despite falling behind early in the first period, the Golden Knights continued to fight for chances in an effort to get on the scoreboard. Hartzell fought off everything that came his way through the second period and into the third period. Hartzell made a key save late in the second period while Clarkson was on a powerplay. Simon Bessette found space at the top of the crease and had several chances to put the puck into the net but Hartzell sprawled out to keep Clarkson off the scoreboard. “[Hartzell’s] been great,” said Coach Pecknold on Hartzell’s game. “He is our best player, the best player in our league, and maybe even one of the best in the country.”
McPherson scored with 13 seconds to go in the game to spoil Hartzell’s shutout bid. McPherson picked up a loose puck in the crease and stuffed it passed Hartzell.
“Today we were flying,” said Jones after the game. “We made a lot of mistakes but our energy was great and our passing was there and we got back to the basics.”
The Bobcats are back in action next Friday night at 7 p.m. when they host the Yale Bulldogs in the annual Heroes Hat game at the High Point Solutions Arena.